Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Abolishing Operations

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102290-1


Abolishing operations (AO): a general term to describe antecedent events which momentarily decrease the reinforcing or punishing effectiveness of a consequence and therefore alter the future frequency of behavior related to that consequence. AOs, in conjunction with establishing operations (EO; see establishing operation), fall under the greater omnibus term, motivating operation (MO; see motivating operations). AOs involve events which result in a decrease in the effectiveness of a reinforcer or punisher when delivered contingent on a behavior. There are many unconditioned abolishing operations identified in humans. Satiation of food, water, sleep, activity, oxygen, and warmth or cold all function as abolishing operations for related behavior and reinforcement (Cooper et al. 2007). For example, having just eaten lunch functions as an AO for food as a reinforcer which momentarily decreases any behavior reinforced by food.

Historical Background

Skinner (1938) discussed...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Center for Children with Special NeedsGlastonburyUSA